The Stories TransCanada is afraid you’ll see – Energy East

Bob Smoker

Recently my work creating Along the Pipeline was singled out by TransCanada and their (former) PR firm Edelman as a threat to their Energy East project. The statement in question comes from a Reasearch Synthesis that was leaked to Greenpeace and can be found on page 11. It reads:

Image: Edelman Leak

I don’t know if I should be shocked or honoured that I seem to have the ability to ‘create an emotional response that can override logic and reasoning.’

Along the Pipeline has always been about the stories and opinions shared by people that I met on my journey. Along the way I encountered people that agreed with the project, disagreed with the project, and those that are still making up their minds.

Mike Gerbrandt

These documents clearly show that TransCanada was considering using deceitful tactics to attack environmental advocates, and also one of their key worries is the spread of real stories from real people. They would prefer to write the script for stories from a fabricated grassroots movement – with comments disabled – while attacking and silencing the voices and opinions of regular people along their pipeline route. It is clear that TransCanada is interested in pushing one-sided spin, and is not comfortable with an honest, open debate about impacts on communities and the climate.

Targeting artists that share real stories is the sign of a company that knows it’s losing its social license. If they can’t be trusted to engage in fair, democratic debate, can they be trusted to build a pipeline 4500km across Canada, over hundreds of waterways, enabling an explosion of tar sands growth? Or do we want a different future?

If you believe in the value of real stories then take a moment to watch and share this one from Nora Gould in Alberta.

If you believe that real voices should be heard and can help me continue this project, please donate below.

Published: Energy East Photography in Photo Life

The Dec/Jan issue of Photo Life Magazine features the Along the Pipeline project. Along the Pipeline is a portrait project that documents the people and communities along TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline route.

It is great to see this article in Canada’s top photo magazine. It is important that this story reaches different audiences and I am thrilled with the job that the publishers did with the project. If you are in Canada go and pick up a copy from your local magazine store.

energy east photography

Along the Pipeline – A portrait project along the Energy East pipeline route published in Photo Life Magazine.

Energy East Multimedia – Along the Pipeline

The following five multimedia pieces were completed for my Along the Pipeline project focusing on the proposed Energy East pipeline. They include Nora Gould, a mother, poet and rancher (in that order) from Alberta, Henry Harris, a fisherman on the Bay of Fundy and Ryan Theriault, owner of Tranquil Acres. Also included are Crystal Greene, an Anishinaabe Activist and Serge Simon, the chief of the Kanesatake Mohawk.

All five individuals are concerned about the potential impact that the Energy East pipeline could have on their communities and livelihood.

Along the Pipeline Presentations

Energy East, along the pipeline and Naomi KleinRecently I had the pleasure of presenting the Along the Pipeline project on the stage in Montreal. I was honoured to share the stage on all occasions with some amazing individuals.

Last week I shared the stories of those along the pipeline at  Bill McKibben’s and Ellen Gabriel’s People’s Climate Tour event. Last night I was given the opportunity to piggy back on Naomi Klein’s new book launch, This Changes Everything, to bring these stories to a sold out Imperial Theatre in Montreal.

My thanks goes out to the all the participants and supporters of Along the Pipeline and to the organizers for fitting me into already packed schedules.

Henry Harris – Energy East and the Bay of Fundy

Henry Harris is a fisherman living on Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. He started fishing when he was 14 years old and has been on a boat ever since. His livelihood and the livelihood of 2000+ people living on Grand Manan is connected to the lobster fishing industry. The proposed Energy East pipeline from TransCanada would end in St. John, New Brunswick, and a major increase in tanker traffic is expected if the pipeline is built. Fishermen on the Bay are concerned about the potential of a spill and what it could mean for their communities.

I was lucky enough to head out lobster fishing with Henry while on my Along the Pipeline project. I managed to capture a few images in between those moments where I lost my breakfast over the side. The next day Henry was kind enough to sit down with me and share some of his thoughts.

Watch below.

Along the Pipeline featured on DeSmogBlog

My upcoming project Along the Pipeline has just been featured on the popular Desmogblog. Check it out. 

I will be following the line of the proposed Energy East pipeline in Canada to take portraits and tell the stories of those along the route. TransCanada, the same company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, is proposing another pipeline but this time across Canada. If approved, Energy East would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.

This photography project gives me a chance to contribute to a larger conversation in Canada about climate change, oil and the future of this land. I am currently in the throes of a crowd funder for this project so please visit and support. 

 

Along the Pipeline Crowdfunder Launched

A few hours ago I launched my first crowdfunding campaign. Although crowd funding has been an innovative way for photographers and creatives to fund their projects for several years, I have been waiting for the right project. Finally, I believe I have a project that warrants reaching out and asking for the support of all of you in my community. I am looking for supporters that believe that culture and art have an important role to play in building a better world. If that sounds like you and you know already that you want to join me on this journey, then please visit the campaign at igg.me/at/climate to donate or continue reading below.

Image: Map
Courtesy of Environmental Defence

The Impact

The proposed Energy East pipeline would transport 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen a day from the oil sands of Alberta to St. John. It would cross hundreds of waterways and drinking water supplies and would be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that would equal 7 million new cars on the road.

Along the Pipeline is a journey along the route to share the untold story of what the pipeline will really mean for Canadians and First Nations. How will they be impacted, what do they value, what does the future of Canada look like to them? When finished, the resulting exhibit will allow people to recognize themselves and their communities in the faces of others and realize that they are not alone in desiring a better future.

How You Can Help

I have partnered with a few NGOs in Canada and they are providing some seed funding but not enough. That is why I am launching this campaign to try and raise $10,000. I need funding for basic items like transportation, fuel, food, and critically an assistant. I want to hire an assistant to help with the social media, documentation, the logistics and of course the driving so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

If you want join me on this journey than please visit igg.me/at/climate to donate to this project. After donating please take one minute to share this project on FacebookTwitter and forward this email to your friends and challenge them to match you.

I understand if you can’t donate. You can still help out by sharing this project on FacebookTwitter or forwarding this email to people you think might be interested.

What You Get

Besides my eternal gratitude and that fuzzy feeling that comes with supporting a project, I have compiled some really exciting (I think) perks for your support. Visit igg.me/at/climate to find out more about prints or mystery postcards.

Thanks once again for reading and I hope to hear from you on the route.

 (Robert van Waarden)

Near the route on the Ontario/Quebec border

Corsica | Hiking the Mare a Mare Nord

I was going through the photography archive the last few days picking out images to send to my image partner Aurora Photos. I came across these images from a wonderful hiking trip to Corsica from a couple of years ago.

We were eager to not fly and put more carbon than necessary into the atmosphere so we caught the train from Amsterdam to Nice, the overnight ferry to Bastia and then the amazing little train to Corte. From Corte we joined the Mare a Mare Nord. The trail was surprisingly difficult, it goes over many different mountain ranges and in November is incredibly empty. It rained, snowed, blew and shone and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to Corsica immediately.

Photographs below.

A portrait, CBC and copyright

 

Every photographer at some point deals with copyright infringement. It is an unpleasant reality of putting your images on the web. That said, it will never cease to surprise me as I scan through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to find one of my images staring back at me with no clue how it got there.

It happened today.  Scanning my social media I came across this image of Lionel Lepine, an amazing AFCN activist and friend, headlining an article on Neil Young’s upcoming benefit tour on the CBC News site. The CBC is a respected outlet in Canada and I was especially surprised to see that they had credited the image to one ‘Richard van Waarden’.

After allowing myself sufficient time to process the annoyance, it was a question of finding a solution. This time it was easy. I called another photographer credited in the article and got the email of the producer. I sent an email highlighting my concerns and my fee and within minutes, yes minutes, the producer was on the phone. They apologized, admitted they had screwed up, changed the credit immediately and asked for an invoice.

It is never pleasant to have to deal with copyright infringement, either from a photographer side or from a producer side. However in my experience if dealt with intelligently a solution can usually be found that is acceptable to both parties. See the updated article here. 

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 3.40.17 PM

Climate Oxide Exhibit coming to WANAKA

A couple months ago while I was in Pittsburgh the phone rang. After we got over the initial confusion of what language to speak, (English or Dutch), the man on the other end introduced himself as Sander. Sander was opening up a new cafe in Amsterdam Zuid with a full sustainability concept and he wanted to know if I would like to show and sell some work on the walls. After discussing some of the details with Sander I realized that it was a great place to bring the Climate Oxide exhibit. Since I am no longer in Amsterdam I put him in touch with Shiva and before I knew it, we were scheduled to hang and display the show at WANAKA.

The exhibit is set to open with the Grand Opening of WANAKA, Jacob Obrechstraat 41, on Dec. 21. If you are in Amsterdam I would encourage you to go and join the party, it looks great.

Climate Oxide